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Number of North Carolina officials refraining from performing marriages increases

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RALEIGH, North Carolina — Dozens of magistrates in North Carolina have refused to perform weddings since a law went into effect allowing officials to refrain from performing the ceremony.

The state court system says it's received 32 notices from magistrates since a law took effect June 11 allowing court officials who for religious reasons oppose gay marriage to opt out of performing all marriages.

The law exempts court officials with a "sincerely held religious objection" and is designed for those opposing gay marriage.

The law also gave the recusal option to some register of deeds workers issuing marriage licenses. Elected officials would perform the duties as a last resort.

State Sen. Phil Berger says the law is probably preventing situations like the one in Kentucky, where a clerk has refused to issue licenses.

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